Wigle whiskey logo, distilled and aged in Pittsburgh

Wigle Whiskey Distillery

  • USA, Pennsylvania
  • James Beard Award Semi-Finalists (2018), Best in Class Gin by ACSA (2018), Most Awarded Craft Distillery by ACSA (For 5 Consecutive Years)
  • https://wiglewhiskey.com/
Phone Number
  • +14122242827
  • 2401 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, United States

wigle whiskey distillery

History of Wigle Whiskey Distillery

Founding and Early Years

Wigle Whiskey, an artisan small batch whiskey distillery, was established in the Strip District neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Operations began in 2011, with the doors opening to the public in March 2012. Wigle was the first distillery to open in Pittsburgh since the closure of Joseph S. Finch’s distillery in the 1920s, marking a significant revival in the local spirit-making industry. At the time of its founding, it was one of only three distilleries in Pennsylvania.

The Founders and Naming

The distillery was founded by Mark Meyer, Mary Ellen Meyer, Meredith Meyer Grelli, Eric Meyer, Alexander Grelli, and Jeff Meyer. They named it after Philip Wigle, a figure associated with the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. Wigle, convicted of treason for his role in the rebellion and later pardoned by George Washington, became a symbol of the distillery’s rebellious spirit and connection to local history.

Impact and Growth

Wigle Whiskey played a crucial role in the “Pennsylvania Rye Revival” and has significantly contributed to the growth of Pittsburgh’s whiskey heritage tourism. The founders were instrumental in passing Pennsylvania House Bill 242 in December 2011, allowing craft distilleries like Wigle to sell their products onsite, a critical factor in the growth of craft distilleries in the state.

Expansion and Community Engagement

In early 2019, Wigle expanded by purchasing its distillery building and a neighboring building to provide more space for tasting, tours, whiskey production, and community programs. Additionally, they opened a new facility in the Northside area of Pittsburgh, the Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse and Garden, furthering their commitment to the community.

Partnerships and Cultural Influence

Wigle has partnered with various cultural institutions like the Heinz History Center, Mattress Factory, and Carnegie Science Center, showcasing their dedication to blending local history with their products. They’ve been involved in developing a Whiskey Rebellion trail and have hosted events that contribute to local non-profits, underlining their role in both cultural and community development.

Awards and Recognition

The distillery has gained recognition for its quality, with its co-founders being named James Beard Award Semi-Finalists in 2018. Its spirits have won numerous awards, including Best in Class Gin by the American Craft Spirits Association.

Product Range and Innovation

Wigle produces a range of spirits including Organic Straight Rye Whiskeys, Organic Straight Bourbons, Dutch Style Gins, Rum, and Bitters. They are known for their innovative approaches, such as conducting a two-year study on regional terroir for Rye Whiskey and producing unique products like Eau de Pickle.

Awards Won by Wigle Whiskey Distillery

James Beard Award Semi-Finalists (2018): Recognition for co-founders Alex Grelli and Meredith Meyer Grelli.

Best in Class Gin by ACSA (2018): Award for Organic Ginever from the American Craft Spirits Association.

Most Awarded Craft Distillery by ACSA (For 5 Consecutive Years): Multiple awards including gold medals for various spirits.

Best in Category Craft Rye Whiskey (2015): Notable achievement by ACSA.

Best in Category Wheat Whiskey (2016): Another significant award by ACSA.

National Innovation Award for Eau de Pickle (2019) and Saffron Amaro (2020): Recognitions for innovation in spirit production.

Diverse Range of Award-Winning Products: Including Rye, Bourbon, Gin, Rum, Absinthe, Lemoncello, and Rhubarb Liqueur.

Community Impact and Innovation: Noted for local sourcing, using organic ingredients, and positively contributing to the community.

Wigle Whiskey Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Wigle Whiskey Distillery offers immersive and engaging tours that provide a unique experience for visitors. Here’s an overview of what you can expect on a tour at this renowned distillery:

Distillery Tours in Pittsburgh’s Strip District

Location: The tours are conducted at the distillery located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, at 2401 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222.

Schedule: Tours are available on Saturdays.

Experience: The tour includes a comprehensive walkthrough of Wigle Whiskey’s production process. Starting from how they use organic, local grain to craft their award-winning rye and bourbon whiskey, gin, rum, and other spirits.

Historical Insight: An integral part of the tour is the fascinating history of Pittsburgh’s Whiskey Rebellion, narrated through the perspective of Philip Wigle, the distillery’s namesake. This includes a detailed explanation of the distillation process and the significance of the Whiskey Rebellion.

Tasting Session: The tour concludes with a seated tasting of straight spirits, offering a firsthand experience of their finely crafted products.

Duration and Accessibility: The total length of the tour is approximately 1 hour. It is designed to be a fun and intimate experience with limited group sizes.

Additional Offerings: Visitors can also enjoy lunch, dinner, or cocktails in the distillery’s dining room either before or after the tour. It is recommended to make reservations, which can be done through OpenTable.

From the Barrel Tasting Experience at the Barrelhouse & Whiskey Garden

Location: This experience takes place at the Barrelhouse & Whiskey Garden, located on Pittsburgh’s North Side at 1055 Spring Garden Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212.

Focus: ‘From the Barrel Tasting Experience’ offers a unique insight into the aging process of Wigle Whiskey in oak barrels.

Storytelling: The experience includes stories about Pittsburgh’s steel barons and their impact on the distillery industry.

Exclusive Tastings: Participants are treated to special tastings, including a cask strength whiskey straight from the barrel and a sample of one of Wigle’s barrel-finished products.

Interactive Element: A notable highlight is the opportunity for guests to practice using a whiskey thief, a tool used in distilleries, to fill their own bottle of rye or bourbon to take home.

These tours provide an understanding of Wigle Whiskey’s production techniques and offer an immersive experience into the rich history of whiskey production in Pittsburgh, coupled with exclusive tastings of their distinct products.

Flask & Barrel Review of Wigle Whiskey Distillery

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Wigle Whiskey Distillery, nestled in the heart of Pittsburgh’s vibrant Strip District, and it was nothing short of remarkable. As a seasoned whiskey collector who’s been on numerous distillery tours, I can confidently say that Wigle stands out for its unique charm and exceptional whiskey.

The tour kicked off on a high note in their main facility at 2401 Smallman Street. As someone who appreciates the finer details, I was thoroughly impressed by the thorough explanation of their use of organic, local grain. The passion for craft distilling was evident in every corner of the distillery.

A key highlight for me was the historical narrative woven into the tour. Learning about the Whiskey Rebellion, especially through the lens of Philip Wigle, added an intriguing depth to the experience. It’s not every day you get to sip fine whiskey while diving into a significant piece of American history.

The tasting session was the icing on the cake. I got to savour their straight spirits, which was an absolute treat for my palate. Each whiskey had its unique character, and I could tell they were crafted with meticulous care. The intimate setting of the tasting room made the experience even more enjoyable.

The tour lasted about an hour, but it was so engaging that time just flew by. I also appreciated the small group size, which made the experience feel personal and exclusive.

After the tour, I headed over to their dining room for a meal. The ambiance was perfect for unwinding after the tour. I recommend making a reservation to ensure a spot; it’s well worth it!

I also ventured to their Barrelhouse & Whiskey Garden for the ‘From the Barrel Tasting Experience’. As a whiskey enthusiast, getting a behind-the-scenes look at the aging process was fascinating. Tasting cask strength whiskey straight from the barrel was a standout moment. Plus, getting to use a whiskey thief was a fun, hands-on experience that I won’t soon forget.

What To Do Nearby Wigle Whiskey Distillery

Lawrenceville Distilling: Just a short distance from Wigle, this distillery offers a unique experience with its absinthe, vodka, and gin. They have a bar program featuring classic cocktails and inventive house creations. It’s an excellent spot for spirit enthusiasts. (Location: 5410 Harrison Street, Lawrenceville)

Kingfly Spirits: Located a few blocks away from Wigle in the Strip District, Kingfly Spirits offers a variety of spirits, including vodka, rum, gin, whiskey, and limoncello. They also host live music events, adding to the vibrant atmosphere. (Location: 2613 Smallman Street, Strip District)

Lucky Sign Spirits: Although a bit farther away, this distillery impresses with a wide range of spirits like vodka, gin, limoncello, rye whiskey, bourbon, and more unique options like aquavit and raki. Their aquavit won double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. (Location: Originally in Millvale, relocated to Gibsonia in 2023)

Shopping and Dining in the Strip District: The Strip District itself is a hub of activity, offering a variety of shopping and dining options. You can enjoy a stroll, indulge in diverse culinary delights, and find unique items in the local shops.

Historical Tours and Cultural Attractions: Pittsburgh is rich in history and culture. You can engage in various historical tours, visit museums, or explore the city’s cultural landscape. Several tours are available that delve into Pittsburgh’s past and present aspects.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Wigle Whiskey Distillery?

Primanti Bros. Restaurant and Bar: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can contact them on their phone at (412) 261-1599. Their address is 2 Market Square 5th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Federal Galley: This restaurant has a rating of 4.5 stars. Unfortunately, the phone number isn’t available, but they can be found at 200 Children’s Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

Legends Eatery: It has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, their phone number is (412) 321-8000, located at 500 E North Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

What hotels are near Wigle Whiskey Distillery?

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Pittsburgh North Shore, an IHG Hotel: It has a rating of 4.1 stars. For reservations, you can reach them at (412) 323-0300. The address is 228 Federal St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

Omni William Penn Hotel: This hotel has a rating of 4.5 stars. For reservations, call (412) 281-7100. It’s located at 530 William Penn Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square: It has a rating of 4.1 stars. You can contact them for reservations at (412) 261-2000. The address is 300 W Station Square Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.